I have this bad habit with reading. If I start a novel, I’ll devote a good 2 hours to get through the first 90 pages or so, but if it doesn’t grab me… then I’ll put it down never to touch it again. The sad thing is, this happens with supposedly great books. Like… Game of Thrones by George R. Martin. I mean sure the prose was well wrought and there were some interesting characters but… there was just no magical thread pulling me into the book, strangling me, forcing me to not breathe until I had finished.
It almost happened again with Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold. Sure she’s tied for winning the most number of Hugos. Big deal. The first 90 pages were dull. Dull dull dull. Which was strange since there was some really cool things happening. The pacing was slow, there was no urgency. No mystery.
I almost set it aside to forget. But I got a shipment from Amazon in yesterday in which I recieved The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip. I’ve wanted to read it ever since I finished Riddlemaster Trilogy a couple of years ago. I knew the moment I picked up that novel, I’d forget the other. And quite frankly I’m tired of having to answer “Errr… never finished it” when Oliver asks me about books.
So I picked it up last night around 9 or 10. I figured I’d read for an hour or two, then go to bed. If I just kept devoting the time to reading it, I’d eventually trudge through it.
But it got interesting! I am not a fan of political novels. People running around conspiring for the next kingship just doesn’t interest me (which is why poor Martin is a bore in my mind). I didn’t even realize this until last night. Sure I’ve read novels where political machinations were important, but that’s not why I kept reading. And that’s why I was so utterly bored with Ingrey’s and Ijad’s (don’t even get me started on how confusing that was. Lois, if you’re reading PLEASE DON’T USE THE SAME LETTER TO NAME YOUR MAIN CHARACTERS! IT MAKE HEL CONFUSED!), supposed plight. She was just some potentially embarassing witness to a prince’s naughty habits that would jeopardize the next Hallowed Kingship election.
The fact that she had an animal spirit was mildy entertaining, but not really.
Enter Wencel. Ingrey’s cousin. Wencel oozed danger, promised intrigue, and started hinting at the mystery I needed. After that it was just a race to the end. I finally finished around 4 AM which I’ll regret later because it’ll completely throw off my sleeping patterns… but it’s nice to find a novel that makes you feel starved for the next page. Next chapter. Next book.
P.S. There were a lot of things that reminded me of Dune. ‘Weirding voice’ in particular. Maybe that’s from some work before Dune of which I am unfamiliar. Would anyone care to englighten me?